The Mission has a proposal before the Albany Planning Board to build an addition on our property at 259 South Pearl Street. During the cold weather season, as part of the Code Blue program, there is a mandate that the homeless be sheltered when the temperature reaches 32 degrees.
With this new addition, we could better serve our emergency shelter guests. We would provide beds instead of mats on the floor and lockers instead of trash bags for personal belongings. The goal of this proposed expansion is to provide dignity and a better quality of life. A few individuals have recently asked the Albany Planning Board to deny a permit for this necessary addition to properly house our underserved clients.
Capital City Rescue Mission has been accused of allowing Mission clients to loiter and harass students at the Giffen Elementary School on South Pearl Street. As Executive Director of the Mission for the last 39 years, I testify that this charge against the Mission is false. We keep a vigilant watch to help make sure our clients do not bother passersby.
We have had an official policy in effect since 2009 for all clients staying at the Mission stating that they are not to loiter in the local area around the Mission and specifically Giffen School. We are committed to the safety of the children and workers at Giffen School, and make sure that our clients adhere to this policy by walking around the area daily and keeping close watch. If they violate this policy, they are sent to the Department of Social Services and are sheltered elsewhere.
Since the year 2000, the Mission has also had a written policy not to house registered sex offenders at the Mission. Instead, Albany County arranges for their accommodation.
For over 20 years, the Mission has addressed the street litter problem by sending workers out to pick up trash 365 days a year. Our workers cover several blocks around our area including the area around the school. In 2015, we instituted the Ambassador Program which not only cleans the streets but informs people of the services that the Mission provides. They serve to watch out for negative activities and report them appropriately.
The Mission is not located directly next to Giffen School, but there are two large bus stops and two bodegas that are located close to the school which Mission clients are discouraged from patronizing. They sell large amounts of beer and contraband. These businesses attract drug dealing, prostitution, crime and loitering by people who are not staying at the Mission, which has been confirmed on numerous occasions by the Albany Police.
Giffen School families are served and blessed by the Mission. We take the safety and well-being of our neighborhood, including the school, very seriously. We also provide the following services to the local community:
Besides emergency shelter, the Mission offers long-term, life-changing addiction recovery programs for men and women. Graduates are then offered one of 60 available transitional living accommodations for up to three years to help them as they transition and become productive members of society. Thousands have come through these programs and are now working and positively contributing to our community. Thirty (30) of our 61 Mission employees have come through the Mission as clients.
Capital City Rescue Mission operates with no government funding. Capital funds for buildings and general funds for operations are provided by individuals, churches and businesses who are interested in helping the people of Albany.
Please pray as the new expansion is put before the Albany Planning Board and that it is approved.
To have a hands-on look at the programs, accommodations and people served, we offer an open invitation for people to take a tour of the Mission. Call 518-462-0459 x227 to set up a personal tour.